Hiking from Las Torres to Los Cuernos
The hike from Las Torres to Los Cuernos was short, about 2.5 hours, but rainy. I wore Martin’s rain pants over my hiking pants, and they were completely useless, keeping more wet in than out. The rain was steady but not that heavy, so once it cleared up both pairs of my pants dried pretty quickly. I only took one pair of hiking pants (that zipped off into shorts) on the trip and, although, they were wonderful, I was afraid they would get soaked and I’d have to walk around in my long underwear. On the trail we passed Christian, from our bus trip to Chile, who was hiking the W West to East. We asked him how his trip had been and “Sheisse!” was all he said. He’d had so much wind and rain that his tent had broken. He warned us to find a well protected place to camp in Los Cuenos and to avoid the French Valley, but we weren’t too worried since we were renting a tent.
It was our first day carrying full packs instead of day packs, so we took our time getting to Los Cuernos, stopping to each our lunchbox along the way, and arrived around 4 p.m. Our tent was already set up for us with the (thin cotton) sleeping bags and (very thin) sleeping pads inside. Since it was raining lightly, it was a relief not to have to find a place to set up our own tent. The refugio was small and crowded, with four long wooden tables flanked by small wooden stools inhabited by both lodgers and campers talking, reading and playing games. A group of about eight Germans who were playing a dice game were particularly loud. I found it nearly impossible to read and we hadn’t brought any games, but we settled in at a table and ordered hot chocolate. In the bathroom I bumped into the Canadian woman who thought British Columbia was prettier than Patagonia and found that she was actually quite friendly. You have to leave your backpacks and hiking shoes outside of all the refugios, and I noticed she was in flip flops while I stood there in my stockinged feet. I went back outside to get my sandals out of my pack, then sat back down next to a couple from Chicago and a guy from Atlanta. Soon the couple from B.C. sat down at the table behind us and bought us drinks (the guy, too, turned out to be really nice) and Martin and I spent the whole evening listening to stories from these three disparate groups of travelers—the guy from Atlanta who had traveled everywhere imaginable and had stories about his cruise to Anarctica, rope swings in Laos, traveling through Syria, etc. (to read about his travels, click here, then search SABAROD); the guy who had just climbed Aconcaqua and planned to bike through half of South America after he finished the W and Machu Pichu; and the couple from B.C. who had hilarious and harrowing tales about a two-day ice trek they had done before the W.
For dinner we had a delicious beef stew with rice and a potato, and chocolate pudding for dessert. Although I woke up a few times from the cold, with my down jacket and hat on, I slept fairly well. For breakfast we were served crepes, scrambled eggs, tea and a box lunch.From what I remember , the price for two people to camp and eat three meals was about $100. We exchanged e-mails with the B.C. couple and websites with the others, then continued on our way.